The big picture: The wireless landscape today is far different than it was when 3G and 4G arrived on the scene years ago. Apple no longer has the luxury of waiting on the sidelines a full year before jumping on the 5G bandwagon but it may not have a choice due to supplier issues.

Apple could wait as long as a year after the initial deployment of 5G to launch an iPhone compatible with the new generation of mobile technology.

Sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that a 5G-ready iPhone won't arrive until at least 2020. If true, it would mirror the strategy Apple utilized with the launch of 3G and 4G.

Rather than being first to market and having to deal with the headaches of being an early adopter, Apple elected to sit on the sidelines in the early days of 3G and 4G. Apple's phones at the time were so far ahead of their rivals' that they could afford to wait for the tech to mature. With 5G, however, it's a different story.

Apple's iPhones aren't leaps and bounds ahead of the competition like they once were. Furthermore, 5G is expected to deliver a massive speed increase compared to today's 4G networks and smartphone adoption is nearly ubiquitous these days. Apple may not have the luxury of waiting around as the initial 5G growing pains are sorted out.

Another factor that could impact Apple's decision is its ongoing feud with Qualcomm. Intel reportedly won't have 5G hardware ready in time for 2019 iPhones which has Apple looking elsewhere.